Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: "The Blade Itself" by Marcus Sakey

I had never heard of Marcus Sakey or read any of his books, but one day I saw an advertisement promoting his latest book on my Facebook page. Having just breathlessly finished his first book, The Blade Itself, I'd like to thank the somewhat intrusive mechanisms of Facebook that place certain ads on your pages based on things you say you "like" or things you type, because Marcus Sakey is an author worth reading.

Danny Carter and Evan McGann were best friends, growing up together in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in Chicago, moving from mischief to petty crimes to more serious robberies and thefts. One night, a pawnshop robbery goes awry. Danny escapes, but Evan gets caught and sent to prison, although he does not give Danny up. Years later, Danny has built a brand new life, with a solid career and a serious relationship with his longtime girlfriend, when Evan returns. He hasn't forgotten that Danny walked away from the pawnshop and left him to deal with the consequences himself, and he wants some payback. So Danny is faced with the ultimate dilemma: do you honor your debts and risk everything you've built your life on, or walk away and face the same risks?

You may think you've seen this story before, but in Marcus Sakey's hands, the plot is fresh, the characters are complex and the action crackles. I had a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach from the moment I started reading the book until I raced through the last page, because I knew something bad was going to happen (it was the literary equivalent of watching a movie with your hands nearly covering your eyes), but even if some things weren't surprising, the whole story was really exciting. If you like action/thriller-type novels, pick up The Blade Itself, and you won't be disappointed, except when it's done. I know I'll be downloading some more of Sakey's books really soon!

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